Adorable Pangolins - The Forgotten Species.

June 18, 2018
Pangolins are a bit of a forgotten species. There's been a lot of attention to the big iconic animals like elephants, rhinos, tigers  but not much attention to pangolins.

Pangolins are adorable creatures, a size of a small cat that are covered with scales made of Keratin. These scales which start off as soft, harden as the creature gets older. They are not very ferocious and doesn't have teeth. They're not fast and wobble on its hind legs and tail.  The claws are huge to dig the dry ground and  rip out ants and termites. Also, it's long sticky tongue and overactive salivary gland helps a lot in their eating habits.
A Pangolin in Namibia
Image Credit

They are nocturnal, secretive, mysterious in their behavior. Chinese Pangolins sleep in underground burrows, others climb on trees. 

When they get angry they would hiss, puff, lash their sharp tail. If the fight is too big then they will curl up until the attacker goes away.

 There are eight different pangolins under various stages of threat in Asia and Africa.

• Chinese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla) – Critically Endangered

• Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica) – Critically Endangered

• Indian pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) – Endangered

• Philippine pangolin (Manis culionensis) – Endangered

• Cape or Temminck’s Ground pangolin (Smutsia temminckii) – Vulnerable

• White-bellied or Tree pangolin (Phataginus tricuspis) – Vulnerable

• Giant Ground pangolin (Smutsia gigantea) – Vulnerable

• Black-bellied or Long-tailed pangolin  (Phataginus tetradactyla) – Vulnerable


Getting Endangered

It is estimated that 100,000 pangolins are  hunted and sold every year, making them the most traded animal in the world. It's meat is considered a delicacy in China, Vietnam and parts of South East Asia. African Pangolins are threatened by intensive hunting. The habitat is also under threat from the use of pesticides and electric fences.

Illegal trading goes on despite  the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Lack of awareness and information along with insufficient political pressure makes tackling the black market more challenging.  Most give birth to one offspring a year. This is another factor for Pangolin's  scarce population.

Post Written by -  Adap Immanuel Teron

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